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2020 | 92(4) | 12-16
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Bariatric tourists. Foreign bariatric patients treated in Poland – a survey based study

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Introduction: Bariatric procedures are becoming more popular worldwide. We present a current situation of foreign patients treated by high-volume bariatric surgeons in Poland in 2016.
Material and Methods: We sent an online survey to twenty high-volume bariatric surgeons. The questionnaire regarded the year 2016. We asked for number and types of bariatric procedures performed or supervised, number of foreign bariatric patients, their qualification process, country of origin, types of procedure, and post-op recommendations.
Results: We received 9 surveys (45%). Five surgeons performed or supervised from 100 to 300 bariatric procedures, 2 performed or supervised over 300 procedures, 2 performed or supervised from 50 to 100 procedures. All of the respondents performed laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy (LSG) and laparoscopic gastric bypass (LRYGB), four carried out mini gastric bypass, two – gastric banding (LAGB), one – SADI-S and duodenal switch (DS). Six surgeons operated on the total of 64 foreign patients, mainly performing LSG, LRYGB and mini gastric bypass. Most of the patients were qualified based on international criteria [body mass index (BMI) over 40 kg/m2 or BMI over 35 kg/m2 with comorbidities]. United Kingdom was the most popular country of origin, followed by Germany, USA, Ireland and Sweden. Qualification for surgery was based on a personal visit. After surgery, 83.3% (n = 5) of the respondents gave out discharge documents in English, recommending long-term bariatric follow-up in the country of origin. Every respondent carried out 3-month personal follow-up of every foreign patient.
Conclusions: Foreign bariatric patients travelling to Poland are qualified for surgery according to known international standards. Most of the patients receive post-op discharge documents in English, with a 3-month follow-up performed by their surgeon. Further bariatric supervision in the country of origin is routinely recommended.
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